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Thursday September 23rd 2021

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Eat Your Leafy Greens!

By MARY ELLEN KALUZA

Summer is in full swing, and our local farmers markets are bursting with the first produce of the season. For several weeks now, enterprising farmers with hoop houses have been supplying us with breathtaking spinach, stunning kale, lovely arugula, and delicious Hakurei turnips, with their yummy greens (a great twofer vegetable!).

Fresh vegetables at the local farmers markets are almost always less expensive than in grocery stores, not to mention far more nutritious, as they haven’t languished in a far-off warehouse for weeks before reaching our refrigerators. Most vegetables start to lose nutrients the minute they are picked, and can lose 50 percent or more in less than a week. So, buying directly from the farmer who was up pre-dawn picking those leafy greens gets you the maximum goodness for your dollar.

WHY EAT GREENS?

Greens are probably the most nutrient packed food group. They are a great source of important minerals (iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium) and vitamins C, B, E, and K. Plus, greens have phytonutrients like beta-carotene and lutein. Lutein, for example, is shown to promote long term eye health, lowering the risk of cataracts. So, just like saving now in your 401K for retirement, eat your greens today to save your eyesight for those golden years.

All of our body functions, not just our eyesight, depend on those essential nutrients. Eating greens is a smart investment in your future health. And buying at your local farmers market is a smart investment in your community.

NEARBY MARKETS

  • Four Sisters Farmers Market – 1414 E Franklin Ave, Thu 11-3
  • Midtown Farmers Market – 3032 Minnehaha Ave S, Sat 8 – 1, Tue 3 – 7
  • Mill City Farmers Market – 750 2nd St S, Sat 8 – 1
  • Kingfield Farmers Market – 4005 Nicollet Avenue, Sun 8:30 – 1
  • Farmers Market Annex – 200 E Lyndale Ave N, Sat – Sun 7 – 1
  • Nokomis Farmers’ Market, 52nd & Chicago Ave S, Wed 4 – 8

BONUS for WIC PARTICIPANTS

WIC participants get $30 per summer to buy local produce at approved farmers markets! Learn more at: https://www.mda.state.mn.us/food-feed/information-wic-participants. Contact Hennepin County WIC office: 612-348-6100.

OF NOTE FOR SNAP RECIPIENTS: Market Bucks

You may have heard of (and used) Market Bucks. Market Bucks was a program that benefitted SNAP participants by matching $10 of farmers market produce purchases with an additional $10. 

This popular program was funded by the State, with matching Federal funds. As I was drafting this article, the program was cut from the budget by Republicans, effective July 1. There are continued efforts to retain the program through other avenues, so stay tuned. Let your elected representatives know how much you value Market Bucks, a win-win program for the SNAP participants and our local farmers.

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